Shropshire Star

Sainsbury's was good for Ludlow but M&S would be 'disastrous', says landowner of Sainsbury's site

Owners of the land on which a Sainsbury's supermarket was built have called on Shropshire Council to throw out plans for a big new Marks & Spencer Foodhall a mile down the road.

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How the M&S Food Hall would look. Picture: Corstorphine and Wright.

Davies Street Ludlow Limited has told Shropshire Council planners that the proposed M&S Foodhall would have "a significant adverse impact on the town centre" and there is no need for another food store in the town.

"We have reviewed the M&S planning application, and have significant concerns regarding the proposal," says the company. "We, therefore, consider that it should be refused."

They also say the former Budgens store in Ludlow town centre represents a better site than at Sheet Road.

The company's letter to planners says: "As well as the small local shops, there are already a number of existing supermarkets in Ludlow.

"The opening of Sainsbury’s in November 2021 means that shoppers have plenty of choice. As such, Ludlow is well provided for, and there is simply not a need for another foodstore."

It adds that planners should wait to see what the impact of Sainsbury's is on the town centre traders before deciding to give the go-ahead.

"Since the Sainsbury’s only opened in November 2021, the second full calendar year of trading is this year, which means that the impact of Sainsbury’s on the town centre might not be fully realised yet," the letter reads.

"As such the M&S application should assess the cumulative impact of both stores on the town centre. M&S have not done this because they know that the cumulative impact of Sainsbury’s and M&S will be in excess of 20 per cent."

Davies Street Ludlow says that the Sainsbury's provided Tesco and Aldi with much needed competition but the M&S would be bad for the town.

"It will simply dilute trade in the town centre further," they say.

"More importantly, M&S will compete more directly with independent shops in the town centre that also focus on providing quality products, threatening the viability and vitality of the town centre at a time when councils should be supporting small retailers and the high street."

They say that to have an M&S taking trade from the town centre when retailers and shoppers are being squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis "will be disastrous."

The letter adds: "At such a delicate time, introducing an out-of-centre M&S will be disastrous."

An M&S spokesperson said: “We’ve seen a very positive reception in the local community to our plans for a brand new M&S Foodhall in Ludlow, which will offer local customers a wide range of great quality, trusted value M&S Food products. This significant investment in the local area will make a positive contribution to the local economy – both by unlocking employment opportunities for up to 70 people and by helping to attract shoppers to the local area, enhancing the existing, vibrant retail offer in Ludlow.”

The consultation deadline on the plan was officially on Thursday, March 16, with a target date for a decision being Friday, April 7.

A slim majority of public comments are currently in favour of the plan (reference 22/05682/FUL) which is available for comment on the Shropshire Council website